DeLuca, V., Rothman, J., Bialystok, E., & Pliatsikas C. (2019): Duration and extent of bilingual experience modulate neurocognitive outcomes. NeuroImage.
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The potential effects of bilingualism on executive control (EC) have been heavily debated. One possible source of discrepancy in the evidence may be that bilingualism tends to be treated as a monolithic category distinct from monolingualism. We address this possibility by examining the effects of different bilingual language experiences on brain activity related to EC performance. Participants were scanned (fMRI) while they performed a Flanker task. Behavioral data showed robust Flanker effects, not modulated by language experiences across participants. However, differences in duration of bilingual experience and extent of active language use predicted activation in distinct brain regions indicating differences in neural recruitment across conditions. This approach highlights the need to consider specific bilingual language experiences in assessing neurocognitive effects. It further underscores the utility and complementarity of neuroimaging evidence in this general line of research, contributing to a deeper understanding of the variability reported in the literature.